Monday, 16 June 2008

drugs and lurgies...

Monday 16th June

Hmm – this morning I was crabbing about like a half squashed spider, as the joint pains arrived back from their holiday in Benidorm [or wherever ‘types’ like that go when they’re not here with me!], and were in full swing. Fell out of bed and tottered downstairs to a tasty brekkie of a banana and Paracetamol on the side. Yuck. Such Cordon Bleu in this house! Soon we will be thinking of opening a restaurant in order to share our gastronomic expertise...But at least the horrible chemo mouth has gone, and I don’t feel sick any more either. I’ve decided that I prefer the chemo mouth to the joint thing. How unfortunate I don’t have any choice, and I am blessed with both...

I was so desperate for a good nights sleep on Thursday night that I finally caved in to the Temazepam – but unfortunately I still woke up every 1 to 3 hours as usual. So, that doesn’t work at all, apart from making me go to sleep faster. But as I was shattered anyway, that’s also debatable. And there I was worrying I would have such a ‘Great Nights Sleep’ I would become addicted to the stuff. Not likely – it’s useless [for me anyway].

Onward and upward – just have to carry on having a siesta in the afternoon. As usual, Saturday [the first one after the chemo] was a nightmare and I could barely keep my eyes open by lunchtime – I don’t know why but I can’t bear going to sleep in the morning – it just seems so debauched! But by 3.00 I was almost falling off my chair, so I had to concede – slept for the next 4 hours until Aj arrived home. And woke up in a very bad mood – I am convinced these steroids cause depression – as soon as I stop taking them [the first 2 days you have them for the nausea], it takes another 2 days before I feel even remotely cheerful again. Then all of a sudden it’s like my mind clears. Well, as far as it gets clear at the moment – roll on the day when the chemo is OUT of my blood stream and my brain decides to Get With the Program again.

I forgot to mention that the weekend away in Weymouth was fantastic! So great to be away from the house, work and the rubbish Exeter weather. We had scorching sun, fabulous fish and chips [they make the BEST ones there – and it’s even a proper English chippy!] and managed to do hardly anything at all apart from walk around looking at stuff, drinking wine and chilling out. So we arrived home nice and brown and probably fatter.

Also forgot [yes, yes, it’s the chemo brain – if my head wasn’t joined on by default I’d forget that too] that I didn’t get the CA-125 results this time, as apparently it was ‘too soon’ to do them. Riiight. I wonder if any of the people in the lab have had this and realise what they do to your head when they say stuff like that? What do they mean? If they don’t do it next time, I shall go and ask them personally. Disappointing, but I suppose it’s not THAT dire, as I will get them next time again. But it’s the one thing that gives you a 'reading' if you will, of how things are going during chemo as it helps to determine the activity of the cancer, and the status of chemotherapy on the cancer. I didn’t like it that they perhaps felt it wasn’t important enough, or it was too expensive, or whatever...I don’t see how it can be 'too soon' to test anything. So I am not amused with the lab people, and I wish bad weather upon all their bbq’s.

Apart from that I am much more tired this time. It’s like being hit ten times a day with a sack of cement. This consequence doesn’t appear to inform my body that I should sleep – there is obviously a communications problem here. I want to sleep. For about 24 hours would be nice. Maybe 24 days. My body is too stupid to pay attention, and will not sleep for more than 3 hours tops at a time. Grr. It would be useful to be able to get out of my body and have a swift word with it.

Sunday was fathers day, so Mum and Dad [newly arrived from Saudi with ciggies for me - fantastic!] came down for a swift visit and we made a bbq – as usual, it rained. But, again as usual, Aj prevailed and cooked the meat no matter what – had a lovely lunch, then regrettably AGAIN I went into bear mode and decided it was hibernation time – went to bed as soon as M & D left, only to be woken up by a barrage of kilted bag pipers stomping up our road. Good grief...so, now we are stuck in the house and it’s raining and I am getting really tired of this. Andrew had a brainstorm, and decided we should go for a ride in the car. Cool! Off we went and ended up at Coombe Cellars Inn, which is a rather pretentious pub on the estuary. One cannot buy peanuts there, only ‘Pistachios’...bet they don’t do a Ploughman’s either!

We dried off some seats outside, and sat purveying the view. Very nice. The sun came out and it was a real treat. But I am now paying for it, it seems. In the background I noticed a woman sneezing like a sneezing thing, and I thought ‘never mind, we are outside, no worries’. The sound a sneeze makes in polite society is "a-tissue" - a nice allusion to its respective remedy. And I am now right on in there with those tissues, as I woke up this morning with a cold. Shriek!

Normally I wouldn’t bother about a cold at all – unlike the majority of English people, I do not view having a cold as an excuse to have 4 days off work. It’s a cold – normally you get over it in about 4 days. But right now, with my WBC & Nuetros below the norms already, I am pretty stressed about it. Nothing I can do except take Paracetamol [and stuff my poor nose with camphor so I can actually breathe...] and hope for the best. Since I started the chemo I’ve had pretty bad sinus problems, and this morning I was hoping that was what it was, but as I am now in Snot City, plus running eyes [this is no fun with about 5 eyelashes per eye I might add] and a fat head, I am correct in assuming, yes, I Have A Cold! Whatever next?

As I have a weakened immune system as the result of the chemo, I now have to take care that I don’t develop a fever, i.e.; a temperature over 37ยบ C. One apparently should consult the doctor if one gets a cold, as one is more likely to get a secondary infection. There are no medicines that will cure the common cold. Given time, the body's immune system will usually make antibodies to fight the infection, and the cold will be resolved without any intervention. Antibiotics are useless against a cold. It’s only if it actually becomes dangerous that they can do anything for me. So, I am now armed with Paracetamol, my trusty free NHS thermometer and some Beechams powders...oh, and the Vicks! Oh I am a sex machine I tell you – stinking of camphor, a nice swollen set of eyes and a red nose. Jennifer Lopez eat your heart out baby!

Obviously if it moves to my chest or any other aggravation ensues, I’ll be straight up to the Ward for some help. But in the meantime I am now on Red Alert with myself – what next eh? My head will fall off?? I will update this between sneezes!!

PS: I did read a very interesting article about fighting cancer with the common cold virus. If you are interested, see here: common cold [this link will take you to the web site]

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